Empire Bay resident Mr Geoff Melville has been honoured with a NSW Government Local Achievement Award for a lifetime of services to the community.
The Rotary Club of Umina Beach publicity officer was presented with the award at a special meeting at the Empire Bay Progress Hall on March 5, attended by about 50 of Mr Melville’s family, friends and colleagues.
Mr Melville said he thought he was attending the Progress Association’s annual general meeting and it was “quite the shock” when he arrived to a packed hall.
“It was certainly a surprise.
“I walked in to see people like Member for Terrigal Mr Adam Crouch, Dr John Irvine, Peninsula Villages chief executive Mr Shane Neaves and all my friends from Rotary and I thought what’s going on?
“When I saw my sons, I knew something was up.
“I just wish I hadn’t worn my slippers,” Mr Melville said.
Mr Crouch presented Mr Melville with his award, signed by the Minister for Ageing Ms Tanya Davies.
Mr Melville said he was touched to receive the award.
“Adam read a lovely speech detailing everything that I’ve done over the years but what made it really special was having it witnessed by all my friends,” Mr Melville said.
“When people go out of their way to come to an event like that just to support you, even though you’re certain they have plenty of things going on in their own lives and other places they could be, it’s very humbling.
“For them to be there for me was very special.
“It’s something I’ll always remember,” Mr Melville said.
Friend Mr Neil Thompson said he could think of no one more worthy of the award.
“Geoff was president of the Empire Bay Progress Association for five straight years and has organised the annual Anzac Day ceremony at the refurbished Empire Bay Cenotaph for 20 years, where he was also the master of ceremonies,” Mr Thompson said.
“As an active member of the Umina Beach Rotary Club for 42 years, Geoff has held every board position (including president twice), during which time he has received an unprecedented four Paul Harris Fellowship Awards and a Rotary International Avenues of Service Citation.
“Each week, Geoff publishes a 24-page Rotary Bulletin containing Rotary events, reports and updates, which is an enormous effort for one person.
“Being a business fundraising committee member of the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal since 2001, Geoff became zone chairman, raising over $46,000 each year.
“For the past 15 years, Geoff has been an honorary director of Peninsula Village and is currently the chairman of the building committee, overseeing a new 114-bed age care facility valued at over $30 million.
“As a fundraiser, Geoff has many worthy causes (not always through Rotary) where he has helped raised funds for two local schools, Umina PCYC, Mary Macs, Coast Shelter, David Tanare’s Mission for Homeless people in Gosford and Woy Woy Peninsula, Top Blokes Foundation and Camp Breakaway, to name just a few,” Mr Thompson said.
Interview (Dilon Luke), 6 Mar 2019
Geoff Melville, Empire Bay
Media release, 6 Mar 2019
Neil Thompson, Woy Woy